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Vegetarianism Defined

An explanation of the various types of vegetarianism, with an acknowledgment that many people do not fit perfectly into one category.

"So what can you eat?"

These are the five little words that can cause an eager-to-share vegetarian to clam up when it comes to discussing their diet. For the most part, it is incorrect to assume that a person is being forced to avoid certain foods.

Generally speaking, vegetarianism is a conscious choice that can be adopted for a variety of reasons including health, religious, political, economic, and moral. Below are some of the main categories of vegetarianism, although it is important to remember that many people do not fit perfectly into one single group at all times.  

Lacto-ovo Vegetarians: When most people think of vegetarians, they think of the lacto-ovo kind. People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are considered lacto-ovo vegetarians. Similarly, the term lacto-vegetarian is used to describe someone who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.

Pescatarian: This term is used to describe someone who does not eat any animal flesh except for fish. Pescatarians may or may not consume eggs and dairy products. 

Vegan: Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or foods containing animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin. Many vegans also avoid consuming honey since it is made by honeybees. 

While these categories attempt to neatly organize the main types of vegetarianism, it is necessary to acknowledge that many people are unable or unwilling to summarize their eating habits so concisely.

Above all, I believe that the most crucial thing to take into account when considering a vegetarian diet is the need for a nutritious, balanced and wholesome approach to your way of eating. This very important issue will be discussed in my next post! 

Are you a vegetarian? How do you attempt to define your diet?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dina Sciortino May 02, 2012 at 10:51 PM
And its apparently great for the environment: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellemaisto/2012/04/28/eating-less-meat-is-worlds-best-chance-for-timely-climate-change-say-experts/2/

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